EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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December 15, 2012

Killer's family rooted in Merrimack Valley, NH

(Continued)

A grandmother of the suspect — who is also the mother of Nancy Lanza — was too distraught to speak when reached by phone at her home in Brooksville, Fla.

“I just don’t know, and I can’t make a comment right now,” Dorothy Hanson, 78, said in a shaky voice as she started to cry. She said she hadn’t heard anything official about her daughter and grandsons. She declined to comment further and hung up.

Police say Adam Lanza drove to the school this morning in his mother’s car, entered the school and killed 20 children and six adults before committing suicide. Nancy Lanza was found dead at home in Connecticut, bringing the toll to 28.

Several family members still live in the Haverhill area. No one answered the door at the home of an uncle of the killer in Plaistow. When a woman pulled into the driveway, a man yelled from the back, instructing the woman to come inside and not to talk to a reporter outside. Someone then pulled down the shades in the front windows of the house. A short time later, police arrived and asked the reporter to leave.

The shooter’s grandfather, Peter Lanza, who died two years ago at age 83, was born and raised in Haverhill and also lived in Plaistow.

He was an investment broker and insurance salesman with the John Hancock Life Insurance Co. He also played bass in the former Ray Gardella Band.

Peter and Nancy Lanza filed for divorce in 2008, according to court records. Peter Lanza, now lives in Stamford, Conn., and he reportedly works as a tax director for General Electric.

Nancy Lanza is the sister of Kingston Police Officer James Champion. Last night, there were reports that the FBI was in Kingston speaking with the James Champion, but that hasn’t been confirmed.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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